Saturday, 29 June 2019

Let's Celebrate


I'd like you all to share a glass of bubbly with me because I'm delighted to tell you... I've signed another two-book deal with my publisher Bookouture!

This means that I will have another two psychological thrillers published in 2020. One in May and the other in December. I've been in discussions for the last month and keeping quiet has been the hardest thing to do when what I've really wanted to do is shout it from the rooftops.



This is what the commissioning editor said in her announcement. I'm so proud! 

This novel-writing lark has been quite a journey, a steep learning curve with many ups and downs along the way, but it's been exciting and to be continuing on my new path is something definitely worth celebrating. I've already started my next novel and it's great to get to know new characters. Not that I've forgotten the old ones. I'm delighted that What She Saw is still receiving great reviews (currently 4.8 out of 5 on Amazon) and is still holding its own in the kindle charts. 

Exciting things are also happening with my second novel, We Were Sisters, as it's now available to pre-order, I can't wait until publication day on August 8th.



If you'd like to have a digital copy wing it's way to you on publication day, you can order it here

I'm delighted that I'm sharing this publication date with my favourite author, Lisa Jewell. What great company to be in!

Luckily, the announcement of my new signing came just a day before I went to my first publisher's summer party in London, which meant I didn't have to keep things quiet. I went along with writing friend and fellow Bookouture author, Liz Eeles, who kindly allowed me to take the bus rather than brave the tube.

It was a great party. So many authors to try and recognise from their social media pictures,
so many faces to match to books, so many people's names to forget. Who cares if it's now all a blur... everyone was so friendly and didn't seem to mind if I introduced myself to them twice! I also got to catch up with my lovely editor, Jen, and had the chance to quiz other members of the Bookouture team about their roles. I had no idea so much went on behind the scenes.

Maybe it might have been better if my first question to Oliver Rhodes, Bookouture's founder, hadn't been, 'So, what do you write?' or thrown two canapes on the floor but I came home exhausted and proud that my hard work has paid off and I am now part of this great family.

It's been a long and hard slog to get here but I think my fortunes finally turned when I won the Flash500 Novel Competition. If you fancy reading more about what happened after my win, you can pop over to Loraine Mace's blog and have a read.

It's back to my work in progress now but I'd just like to say one last word.

'Cheers!'

Saturday, 8 June 2019

What She Saw Tours the Lake District


My husband and I have just come back from a holiday in our favourite part of England... The Lake District.

It's the seventh holiday we've had there and, whatever the weather, we just love it. As you can see from the photograph below, that's just as well! (Luckily we had enough breaks in the rain to do many lovely walks).



This year's visit was a special one and those of you who have been following my writing journey will know why. Yes, in May, my psychological thriller, What She Saw, was published by Bookouture and The Lake District was its setting. 

The plan, this year, was to revisit all the wonderful places that had inspired the plot and provided key settings.

From our home in the south, it's a long drive to Cumbria (especially when you have lots of holdups on the motorway) but luckily my husband is a member of Audible and we spent the journey there listening to the audio version of my book. As Beth described her walk on the fells, just as we rounded a corner and the first peaks appeared, it was a very proud moment indeed.


We usually stay in a terrace of small miners' cottages near Chapel Stile called Lingmoor View (the inspiration for the one where Beth and her family live in my fictitious village of Church Langdon). Unfortunately, this year, it was already booked up in the week we wanted to visit, so we stayed in a different one in Grasmere, complete with a garden loved by red squirrels. We did make a visit to the cottages though so I could take a photograph with What She Saw.



Another key place in the novel is Temple Cavern, a disused slate quarry where Beth sits and draws the birds of prey she's so fascinated with. It features several times in the book and I created the place by merging Cathedral Cave at Little Langdale with Rydal Caves.

I love the majesty and mystery of the former but the entrance to Rydal Cave, with its stepping stones leading through the green water into the disused quarry, is how I envisage the entrance. 



Slaters Bridge is another place that is mentioned and is where I took the photograph at the top of my blog. We also visited, The Three Shires pub where Beth has Sunday lunch with her parents.



It's been a wonderful and momentous week in one of our favourite places and, to cap it all, I returned home to the news that What She Saw has sold just under twenty thousand copies in just over a month. I can hardly believe it. 

Maybe my husband and I are not the only ones who love this stunning part of the country!

If you'd like to read, What She Saw, you can buy it here

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

What She Saw Makes Amazon Top 100


I would like you to forgive this rather excitable post but I'm, well, rather excited.

When you have a novel published, you never know what to expect. Is anyone going to read it? Will people like it? Will you have to rethink your career? I thought all these things, and more, as the excitement of publication day wore off and life returned to normal.

It was a bit like having finished an exam and I couldn't help thinking, 'Was that it?'

My novel was hovering around the #1,000 mark on Amazon and I had no idea if this was a good place to be or whether I should skulk away into the shadows. I knew my editor was keen for What She Saw to make it into the Amazon Top 100 bestseller list but it didn't look as though it was going to happen.

Then suddenly, when my back was turned, something changed. My second psychological thriller, We Were Sisters, went on pre-order and the next thing I knew, What She Saw had begun to climb again. If I said I didn't check my Amazon ratings at frequent intervals after that, I would be lying. After all, things were starting to get exciting.

With each day, my debut slowly but surely climbed the charts until, early one morning, my editor emailed me to tell me I'd sold 10,000 books in twenty days and had broken into the Amazon Top 100. But it didn't stop there... it kept on climbing and, to my amazement, reached #58.

Not only that but it also got to #2 in the Amazon Hot Releases chart in Psychological Thrillers.


I was absolutely over the moon and was just thinking things couldn't get much better when I had another message to tell me that on Kobo in Singapore I was #1 in 'Mystery and Suspense Thrillers' (plus two other categories) and had bagged top spot in 'Hottest New Page Turners' in both the UK and the US.

The icing on the cake though was when I found out I had received my first 'Bestseller Badge' on Amazon. This time it was in Australia. What She Saw was #1 in Psychological Thrillers (and two other categories) and #2 in the whole of the Kindle charts. Here's the evidence!


I'm really sorry for what must sound like a horribly boastful post, and I don't mean it to be. It's just that (as a lot of you know) the road to publication for What She Saw has been a roller coaster and I can't help feeling like a proud parent as they watch their child who's struggled at school, graduate... which I will actually be doing in a couple of month's time!

I am so very lucky to have found my marvelous publisher, Bookouture, and the best editor in Jennifer Hunt.

She believed in What She Saw from the moment she read it and, thankfully, I now know others do too... including the lovely lady who took the time to let me know she'd read my novel on her cattle station in Queensland!

Friday, 17 May 2019

Cover Reveal - We Were Sisters


Just when I think I'm getting over the excitement of publication day for What She Saw, another lovely thing happens. I've had the official cover reveal for my second psychological thriller, We Were Sisters.

I've been dying to show you all the fabulous cover for a while now and am relieved that I don't need to keep it a secret anymore! I just hope you love it as much as I do... Bookouture have certainly worked their magic again.

The cover reveal wasn't the only big announcement though. We Were Sisters is now available to pre-order. So, if you fancy guaranteeing a copy on publication day on August 8th, you only have to click on the link below.





I also want to show you my gorgeous mug! My husband bought it for me as a Publication Day present and had a canny way of making sure he didn't have to buy me another when the next novel comes out.







Clever eh!

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

It's Publication Day... I Did It!


It's Publication Day for my debut thriller, What She Saw, so you will have to forgive me if I'm a tad over-excited! 

I still can't believe it.

It was a year ago when I received the email from my editor, Jennifer, from Bookouture (although, of course, I didn't know she was going to be my editor then). And this is what she had to say about the novel I'd submitted just four days earlier:

'I just spent a glorious weekend reading it and I think you've written an absolute page-turner.'

Could we arrange a time to chat on the phone?

We had that phone call the next day and, when I was offered a two-book deal, it didn't take much encouragement to say yes. Bookouture had, after all, been top of my list of publishers. 

Up until that point, having my novel published had just been a dream. But now, a year later, it's become a reality and I couldn't be happier.

It's been a busy year with many rounds of edits and a new book to write but there have been many wonderful milestones: the day I first saw my cover, the day I held the paperback in my hand for the first time, the day I heard the audio clip, my first five star review. But nothing has been as exciting as waking up to the announcement that my book is now 'out there'. Ready to be read by people I've never met or heard of... not just my family!

So I hope you'll join me in my celebrations, share my news if you'd like to and maybe even buy yourself a little present!

Here is the blurb.


How far would you go to keep your daughter safe?

Everyone knows Leona would do anything for her daughter, Beth: she moved to Church Langdon to send Beth to the best school, built a business to support them and found the perfect little cottage to call home. They hike together, shop together, share their hopes and fears. It’s the relationship every mother dreams of.

But Leona never talks about why they moved to the Lake District.

She’s never told Beth anything about her father.

She says Beth should never speak to strangers. She says Beth doesn’t need friends.

She’s only trying to protect her daughter.

When Leona answers the phone one morning, her heart stops as she hears a voice from her past. 

She’s given her daughter everything, but now she must tell her the truth. And once it’s out, can she keep her little girl safe?



Amazon        Apple Books         Kobo         Googleplay



Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Eight days and Counting


I can't believe that in just eight days time, What She Saw - my debut thriller set in the Lake District - will be published! 

In my last post, I mentioned I was getting nervous. Little did I know that a week later something would happen to make it all the more real.

This happened...



Yes, (on my birthday no less) a large box arrived and it was filled with beautiful paperbacks. What a birthday present! I took them out. I sniffed them. I stroked them. In fact, I did everything an author is meant to do when her book baby is finally in her hands. How proud I felt. Bursting with it, in fact.

But yesterday, I was even prouder when I was finally able to give a copy of What She Saw to each of my children and step-children at a family BBQ (even though all of them have already pre-ordered their own copies). One of my daughters started to read it there and then and was so engrossed in it she didn't move from the swing chair. She finished the book this morning and messaged me to say how much she loved it (she's a Katerina Diamond fan, so I'm chuffed). This was swiftly followed by a message from my step-daughter, telling me her husband had taken the book to bed with him and had woken her up this morning with the words, 'This book is really good'.

I've had over sixty reviews on NetGalley to date, and am delighted with them, but most book reviewers are women. I love that a guy likes my novel too!

The other thing that happened is that I received a fifteen minute clip of my audiobook to listen to. I just love the narrator. The strange thing was, it was such a different medium that it felt as though I was listening to someone else's book. When I came to the end of the clip and wanted to hear more, it was a huge relief. Imagine if I'd fallen asleep!

Last year, I was at Horsham Library listening to a talk by Katerina Diamond and her audio narrator Antonia Beamish, as part of Love Audio week. You can read about it here. I was brave and had a go at narrating when they asked for volunteers, but never did I think that a year later, it would be my own thriller that would be narrated. 



My next post will be after publication day. Apologies in advance for any over excitement!

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Nerves are Good... Right?

I'm trying not to panic. Why? Because in three week's time, my debut psychological thriller, What She Saw will be published.

I've been waiting for this for a long time but now that it's getting closer I'm starting to get nervous. What if people don't like my book? What if no one buys it? Silly thoughts, I know, as my editor is really pleased with how the pre-orders of the ebook are going and already I've had a favorable response to it on Goodreads, but I just can't help it.

The problem is, as an author, it doesn't matter how many lovely 4 and 5 star reviews you have, it will always be the others you focus on. That's human nature I suppose. I was given the advice not to look at my reviews... but it's hard not to. Also, if I hadn't looked, I'd have missed out on the reviewer who said my characters were 'meh' but also missed out on the one who said, 'I've read many thrillers but this one blew them all out of the water'.

The whole process is nerve-wracking but exciting too.

There have been three other exciting things that have happened this week. The first is that I've seen the paperback version of my novel is now available to pre-order. Yippee!

The second is I've spoken to the owner of my lovely local independent bookshop (Steyning Bookshop) and she's happy to stock my novel on publication (I'm hoping that anyone who lives locally and wants to buy a paperback copy will support this wonderful shop).

Finally, I've been told that the London studio has been booked for the audio of What She Saw. I've listened to a clip of the narrator on Audible and I'm delighted with my publisher's choice. I can't wait to hear it!

Everything's happening so fast that it's no wonder my stomach is doing somersaults.


What She Saw can be pre-ordered here for just 99p!